After the lithium-air batteries, we are talking about another innovation that could disrupt the energy storage sector. It is not a question of bicarbonate batteries, magnetite-based accumulators or a new super-performing material, rather it is a question of making the batteries more durable and efficient.batteriesalready existing by making improvements to better manage the flow of electrons.
The researchers of thePacific Northwest National Laboratory(PNNL), started one of the analyzes using microscopy. The researchers observed in detail the flows of electrical energy and how they behave especially at the level of the electrode / electrolyte area.
These observations were performed using transmission electron microscopy, certainly not a new technology since it has been used for decades in biology laboratories for cell observation. It appears that in the production ofbatteriesmore efficient there may be a need for a change of direction: no more fluids but solid electrolytes.
Why did the research focus on the area surrounding the electrode?
When we reload any battery, such as thelithium batteries of our smartphone, we push through the electrons (negatively charged particles) through the electrode of the same battery.
The large amount of electrons generates a clutter of charges: the positive ions (as is the case with lithium ones) attracted by the electrons go to accumulate between the solid electrode and the surrounding electrolyte solution. This seemingly trivial footprint can have a negative impact both in terms of efficiency, in terms of longevity and in terms of charging times.
The new laboratory management wants to identify the negative impacts of this dense cloud of positive charges piled close to the solid electrode so as to correct them as best as possible. The most ambitious hypothesis made by PNNL researchers concerns the development of a solid electrolyte.